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Chief of Defence of Latvia is visiting Lithuania, bilateral cooperation, security situation in the region and information threats are discussed


“Lithuania and Latvia share many military interests – we have to take the NATO enhanced Forward Presence units deployed in the Baltics as a generic factor, we have to foresee possibilities of using them together, and what is most important, we have to coordinate at the maximum defence plans of our countries and the entire region,” Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas said at a meeting with his Latvian counterpart Major General Leonīds Kalninš on March 30.


Lithuanian and Latvian Chiefs of Defence also Baltic countries’ defence plans, counter-terrorism efforts, joint Baltic projects, and support to Ukraine.


Lithuania’s Minister of Defence Raimundas Karoblis underscored the importance of NATO in the region and said luckily all NATO allies understood the threats to it. “NATO allies do not see the security situation NATO through rose-tinted glasses and understand the role they have in the face of both, conventional and non-conventional threats. However, we still need to provide quicker decision making procedures to make sure deterrence is even more effective,” Raimundas Karoblis emphasised.


Minister Karoblis also underlined the importance of a close cooperation between Lithuania and Latvia in the context of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battlegroups in order to coordinate exercises and plans and to facilitate a quick and streamlined movement of allied forces in the Baltic states. The meeting also addressed the possible effects of Exercise Zpadad 2017 that Russia is holding in autumn on the security in the region, and the measures the countries were going to take to improve their security.


After the meetings Latvian and Lithuanian CHODs laid flowers at the Memorial for Freedom Defenders in Antakalnis Cemetery.


March 31 Maj Gen L. Kalninš will visit General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania and familiarise with the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces.


Security and defence cooperation of Lithuania and Latvia


Latvia is one of Lithuania’s key partners in security and defence cooperation, bilateral cooperation of the countries has been ongoing for several decades.


The main objective of Lithuanian-Latvian cooperation is enhancing national capabilities, development of Baltic projects, and representation of joint interest in NATO. Baltic projects, such as the Baltic Defence College, Baltic Air Surveillance Network and Control System (BALTNET) and deployments of joint Baltic units for standby in NATO units, are also ongoing.


Lithuania and Latvia are facing the same security threats, and unity is key in countering them. The countries work towards a continuous exchange of data on the development of shifts in security factors, analyse scenarios of threat development, provisions of defence policy are mutually coordinated.


The Baltic countries arrange and take part in joint exercises, deploy soldiers to exercises on the territories of other NATO allies. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia coordinate closely their actions regarding deployment of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battlegroups in the region, coordinate national defence plans, and cooperate closely in strategic communication.


Another important priority of Baltic cooperation is simplification of the procedures for deployment and movement of NATO forces in the region. On 15 February 2017 the Baltic Defence Ministers signed a joint communique on the simplification of deployment procedures for NATO forces.


Photo credits: A. Pliadis and G. Maksimovicz (MoD)

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